Assessor says ag land will see biggest change

By Emily Bialkowski

Caledonia Argus


Each year residents in Houston County receive an equalization notice at the beginning of April informing them of the value set on their property. If a property owner believes the Equalized Market Value set on their property has been miscalculated they can attend an open book meeting at their city or township. If that fails to satisfy the situation the resident can attend the County Board of Appeals Equalization (CBAE) meeting.

The Houston County Board set its CBAE for Tuesday, June 18 in accordance with state law. The meeting will include evening hours to accommodate a variety of work schedules.

County Assessor Tom Dybing, in a follow-up interview, warned that changes in agriculture land prices will be most evident.

“This year the ag community is going to see a substantial increase in the value of ag land. They will pay a bigger piece of tax pie than they were before,” Dybing said attributing the change to good yields and good prices.

Those who feel they have evidence against their assessment should first talk to the assessors office where information is readily available that sometimes explains changes.

Of course the option to then visit their local open book and then the county meeting exists.

“As far as the value, if a person is not happy with the local board of appeals, they can then go to the county board of appeal. But, the only way they can do this is if they’ve gone first to local board of appeal,” Dybing said.

“There’s all kinds of things that can change – legislative changes, value changes and budget changes  – that affect your property,” Dybing said, adding that in a national survey Minnesota ranks number one in terms of how complicated the property tax code is.

Airport mowing

Commissioner Steve Schuldt told the county board at its March 5 meting that he’s been working to address airport concerns cooperatively with a friends of the airport group.

He said, “What I’ve been trying to do is get a volunteer group together for something called ‘adopt an airport.’”

Schuldt explained that the friends of the airport agreed to mow the facility for free if the equipment could be stored on premise.

There’s currently a hangar out there for sale for $4,000 that would more than adequately house the machine. Schuldt brought the item to the board’s attention for consideration.

“It’s spending money that’s not on the budget. But with budget concerns, I don’t know if we should make a decision on it,” Schuldt said.

“The question is how bad do we need it and can you get it cheaper,” Commissioner Justin Zmyewski said, adding, “We have to consider it wasn’t budgeted.”

In total, there is more than a mile of mowing at the airport and the cost to take of it from June 2011 through July 2012 was about $7,374.

No action was taken on the item.


Plan commission change

Due to a number of scheduling conflicts, the Houston County Board agreed to replace Commissioner Zmyewski with Commissioner Dana Kjome on the plan commission.